The Diet Fix Reset (Book Summary)

Day 1: Gear Up

  • Body weight scale for the start and finish of the 10-Day Reset
  • Digital food scale
  • Measuring spoons and cups (maybe 2 sets)
  • Journal or food diarizing app
  • First grocery shop: mostly real foods and minimal processed foods (avoid trans-fat) including solid proteins and complex carbs (i.e. whole grain instead of instant oatmeal)
  • Tupperware and Ziplock bags
  • Comfy exercise clothes and shoes
  • Clean and organized kitchen

Day 2: Diarize

  • Record in real time food and exercise without changing anything
  • Track hunger and cravings as well as any emotions or thoughts related to food
  • At the end of the day, rank from 1 to 10 the “day’s degree of difficulty”
  • Use for data, not judgement, to guide future decisions
  • Keep a food journal for at least 30 days – maybe forever for maintenance – and if you try stopping, start daily weighing to keep it within 3 pounds

Day 3: Banish Hunger Continue reading

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Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Book Summary)

I read this book by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social psychologist, because, well, I want to be more successful at reaching my goals – don’t we all? The research discussed here-within supports my objective because willpower is not an innate strength – it a muscle of self-control and perseverance – and therefore it can be improved through exercise and rest, and compensated for with customized incentives.

The cherry on top is that developing self-control in one area improves it in many other areas of your life – cleaning more regularly, for instance, when you get in the habit of exercising regularly – without conscious intention. Resting, by the way, can be as simple as thinking of something uplifting or someone you know with self-control (as long as you don’t imagine simulating it, which exercises self-control when you need to rest). The point is that anyone can succeed, you and me included.

Get Ready

Know thyself. I tend to think in more abstract terms, describing the why of my behaviour, because big-picture and long-term give me a sense of purpose. But thinking in concrete terms is more useful when the behaviour is unfamiliar and complex, or when you need to evaluate feasibility for the near future and take action.

I also tend to believe if I have to work hard at something, I must not be very good at it, and therefore prefer to do things that come naturally to me. This approach can cost me enriching life experiences. At the same time, I’ve always been a fan of self-improvement, secretly practicing basketball for hours and hours because it was something I wanted even while I recognized it was never going to be my forte. Following this incremental theory keeps me improving despite mistakes.

  • Set specific, difficult (but possible) goals so you don’t settle for “good enough” and instead enjoy your accomplishment.
  • Be confident you will succeed but recognize the process will be challenging so you’re prepared to put in the effort required.
  • Just about anything can trigger goal pursuit unconsciously, including cues we set up for ourselves. Simply befriending academically ambitious students, for instance, led me to pursue my desires more directly without realizing the effect at the time.

Get Set

Different outlooks impact many aspects of how we attain goals. For instance, due to my tendency toward conservative preservation (see prevention-focused goals below), I can pick a path and stick to it without procrastinating. But when I have a promotion goal (see below), I’m more exploratory, abstract, creative, and risk-taking. The trick is to set the right goal for the person and situation. If I need speed now, I go for promotion – if I need accuracy and maintenance, I go for prevention.

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What Comes First: Cardio or Weights? Workout Myths and Exercise Science (Book Summary)

My boyfriend and I finally joined a gym. We’ve been following YouTube videos and online programs long enough and wanted access to more equipment. Plus, getting out of the apartment together and doing something positive for ourselves is feeling great.

Of course, the first thing I’ve done is get a ton of books on exercise science from the library. What Comes First: Cardio or Weights? by Alex Hutchinson appealed to me because I feel like I have a lot of knowledge, I’m just not certain what’s really true.

A few points I learned:

  • First of all, the answer to the title: start with the most important activity – if they are equal, mix it up.
  • High-intensity interval training 7 minutes a week can benefit your body as much as 300 moderate activity like cycling – though, the benefits are mostly from muscles, so endurance is still recommended in the mix to pump the heart.
  • At the same time, more exercise – and more intense exercise – is almost always better: following government guidelines cuts your risk of dying in half, while going further can reduce risk up to 70%.
  • Going too hard, too soon, for too long can cause injury and weaken your immune system.
  • About 20-62% of variation in exercise participation seems to be inherited through personality and physiology, but everyone can reap benefits from exercise.
  • It takes 6 weeks to boost endurance, but health can performance can improve within days, then losses occur after about 2 weeks without training.

More specifically,

  • The differences between running on a treadmill and running outdoors are too small to matter – just set the treadmill to 0.5-1% incline.
  • Weight machines isolate muscles and help keep beginners from making mistakes.
  • Elliptical machines compare to treadmills in the way weight machines compare to free weights – just as good as one another, but different, mainly lower-impact vs. more functional.
  • Aim for 70% aerobic (below 80% of max for 20-60 minutes), 10% anaerobic (above 90% of ma for 0.5-3 minute bursts), and 20% threshold (80-90% of max for surges of 3-10 minutes) – where max heart rate is usually 180-200 bpm for a 30-year old.
  • You likely breathe well naturally for cardio, but may need to focus on exhaling as you lift weights and not holding your breath.
  • Experienced runners naturally learn to take shorter strides so the foot hits the ground below the body, not in front.
  • For 3-4 months, lift weights you can manage for 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps, increasing over time. Work toward something like 4 sets of 20 reps with rests under 90 seconds for endurance. Experiment with variety.
  • You should be unable to lift the weight again when you complete the final set.
  • Strengthen your core (deep abs, lower back, pelvic and hip muscles) with Pilates and functional exercises like hip abductor and flexor.

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Tony Robbins’ 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (100% in 1% Book Summary)

Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins

Concept

  • The promise is to create an income for life without having to work again.
  • The idea is to create an extraordinary quality of life on your own terms.
  • Start rich with gratitude.
  • Achieve your dreams by (1) unleashing your desire or focus; (2) taking massive and effective action; and, (3) good luck!
  • With the strategies summarized below, the only thing that could hold you back is a defeated story based on beliefs you will fail.

Strategies

  1. Establish an automated plan for savings and investments. Spend at least 10-15% of your income on yourself, before any day-to-day expenses, to benefit from compound savings. Every time you get a raise, put a portion toward a higher percentage of income invested.
  2. Protect yourself from marketing myths. Analyze your current portfolio at StrongholdFinancial.com. Choose low-cost index funds over mutual funds. The (likely tax-deductible) cost of a large fee-only independent registered investment advisor (through a third-party custodian) plus the cost of the investments should be under 1.25%. Risk a little to make a lot with structured notes, market-linked certificates of deposit, and fixed indexed annuities.
  3. Set realistic goals to achieve financial dreams at masterthegame.tonyrobbins.com. The calculator will guide you on how much you need to save (and how long it will take) for five levels of financial freedom. For instance, a moderate outlook shows me never having to work another day starting 13 years from now – much better than the standard age of 65+. To get there even sooner: (1) Save, i.e. minimize fees, pay next month’s mortgage principal this month; (2) Earn, i.e. add more value in your job or business; (3) Reduce taxes, i.e. run a not-for-profit, defer, invest in a Roth; (4) Find investments with a risk:reward ratio of 1:5, i.e. real estate investment trusts; or, (5) consider moving cities for greater purchase power.
  4. Make investment decisions with proven asset allocations. Decide what portion you will invest in growth (i.e. high risk, high yield) and what portion (i.e. 60%) in security. Divide a big win from growth investments to reinvest in both growth and security, and save some for a luxury. Diversify across markets, classes, and time with dollar-cost averaging: making equal contributions to all investments monthly or quarterly. Rebalance your portfolio annually. Tax-loss harvesting uses losses to lower taxes.
  5. Develop a guaranteed lifetime income plan. Balance your portfolio in terms of risk rather than by amount of money. “Every investment has an ideal environment in which it flourishes,” so have 25% of your risk in each season: (1) high inflation (commodities/gold, TIPS i.e. inflation-linked bonds); (2) deflation (treasury bonds, stocks); (3) high growth (stocks, corporate bonds, commodities/gold); and (4) low growth (treasury bonds, TIPS). This translates to 30% in stock indexes, 15% in 7-10 year Treasuries, 40% in 20-25 year Treasuries, 7.5% in commodities, and 7.5% in gold. Upon retirement, invest in deferred fixed indexed lifetime income annuities with a guaranteed lifetime income rider. Private placement life insurance protects from growth tax, allows loans, and death benefits are tax-free too. Also consider a living revocable trust.
  6. Learn how billionaires invest. The book details the expert interviews with Carl Icahn, David Swensen, John C. Bogle, Warren Buffett, Paul Tudor Jones, Ray Dalio, Mary Callahan Erdoes, T. Boone Pickens, Kyle Bass, Marc Faber, Charles Schwab, and Sir John Templeton. Here, I’ll summarize: anticipated and diversify; high achievers are never done.
  7. Follow an action plan. Decide to focus on what you can control and find empowering meaning in what you see. This creates the emotional state to take action, to grow, and to contribute. Increase happiness by investing in experiences, buying time for yourself, and investing in others. Most of the billionaires interviewed give most of their money away. You can donate a fraction of a dollar every time you use your credit card to end hunger, slavery, and disease through SwipeOut.

Clearly, there is a huge amount of detail you’d get from reading the full book (and all proceeds go to charity), but above are all the main points as I see them.

50 Ways to Soothe Yourself (100% in 1% Book Summary)

Many people are taught to mindlessly distract themselves to self-soothe. These temporary solutions like emotional eating can become the source of distress. For this reason, I just finished the audiobook for 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers (who also wrote EatQ, the first book I summarized in my 100% in 1% series). Although I’m familiar with many of the techniques described in this book, I found it very helpful to have them listed together with practical advice.  

Albers states we learned self-soothing from our primary caregivers and others early on. Interestingly then, if you did not get hugs when you were younger, a hug now may not help. You also may not have been taught how to talk yourself down. Or perhaps you taught yourself through trial and error. According to attachment theory, you can strengthen these skills at any point in your life.

Practice healthier coping mechanisms so you’re good at them by the time you need them.

At first, you don’t have to change your behaviour, just mindfully observe your eating patterns for at least a week. Go at your own pace. Pay attention to your feelings, observing urges. Take baby steps. Shape your behaviour by rewarding gradual steps. You don’t have to do anything perfectly, just do something close to the desired behaviour. When you’re ready, fully engage in the behaviour to get familiar and habituated.

Take an inventory of your most successful soothing techniques to leverage your strengths. Every morning, check in with yourself and make a self-soothing forecast to prepare accordingly. Check before eating if you have emotional or physical hunger.

If you don’t know what to do in an emotional emergency, choose one technique from each of the five areas below to cover all needs. Try techniques more than once because they may be more helpful in different circumstances.

Mindfulness Meditation

1. Create mindful moments. Stop and mindfully smell the roses, noticing sensations. Try a mindful walk.

2. Practice meditating. There are many meditation styles to help clear your mind. The relaxation response reverses the fight-or-flight response.

3. Breathe. Mindful breathing draws your attention away from stressful thoughts. Talk to yourself about how to breathe well.

4. Strengthen your endurance to counter stress eating. Slow down and make conscious choices. Create a 5-10 minute gap between feeling an urge to eat and responding to it.

Continue reading